A research team in Europe has developed a new line of transgenic "Enviropigs." Enviropigs have genetically modified salivary glands, which help them digest phosphorus in feedstuffs and reduce phosphorus pollution in the environment. After developing the initial line of Enviropigs, researchers found that the line had certain genes that could be unstable. The new line of pigs is called the Cassie line, and it is known for passing genes on more reliably.
Early detection is vital for the effective treatment of cancer. In many cases, tell-tale biomarkers are present in the bloodstream long before outward symptoms become apparent. The development of an inexpensive and rapid point-of-care diagnostic test capable of spotting such early biomarkers of disease could save many lives. A research team in Japan working on developing such a test has now produced their most sensitive microRNA detector yet.
According to findings by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, nanoparticles carrying a toxin found in bee venom can destroy human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) while leaving surrounding cells unharmed. The finding is an important step toward developing a vaginal gel that may prevent the spread of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
A research team with members and Canada and the United States have discovered that a "gateway" known to control the movement of molecules in and out of a cell's nucleus appears to play another critically important role. Its second job is the ability to control the structure of chromosomes and the DNA linked to those chromosomes. This impacts what genes produce or express.
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego have engineered a green alga used commonly in laboratories, <em>Chlamydomonas reinhardtii</em>, into a rainbow of different colors by producing six different colored fluorescent proteins in the algae cells. Tagging algae with different kinds of fluorescent proteins could help sort different kinds of cells, allow scientists to view cellular structures like the cytoskeleton and flagella, or even to create “fusion proteins”.
New work from the Broad Institute and partnering organizations has expanded the understanding of how one type of immune cell—known as a T helper 17 or Th17 cell—develops, and how its growth influences the development of immune responses. By figuring out how these cells are “wired,” the researchers make a surprising connection between autoimmunity and salt consumption.
Tiny biomolecular chambers called nanopores that can be selectively heated may help doctors diagnose disease more effectively if recent research by a team at NIST proves effective. The team has pioneered work on the use of nanopores for the detection and identification of a wide range of molecules, including DNA. These nanopores mimic ion channels, the gateways by which a cell admits and expels materials.
Scientists have long known that the young and old brains are very different. Adolescent brains are more malleable or plastic. The flip of a single molecular switch helps create the mature neuronal connections that allow the brain to bridge the gap between adolescent impressionability and adult stability. Now Yale School of Medicine researchers have reversed the process, recreating a youthful brain that facilitated both learning and healing in the adult mouse.
It was one of the most dramatic stories from Superstorm Sandy: More than 300 patients including tiny babies safely removed from a flooded New York hospital that lost power. But in a research building at the complex, where thousands of lab mice were kept, the story had a sadder ending. A storm surge into the basement swamped some 7,000 cages of mice used for studying cancer, diabetes, brain development and other health issues. About 50 scientists at the Langone Medical Center are going through the slow process of replacing them
A simple new method better assesses the risks posed by emerging zoonotic viruses Researchers show that the new tool can produce transmissibility estimates for swine flu, allowing researchers to better evaluate the possible pandemic threat posed by this virus. ntil now, estimates of transmissibility were derived from detailed outbreak investigations, which are resource intensive and subject to selection bias.
Therapeutic and diagnostic in function, so-called “theranostic” particles have been developed by a team in Sweden. These small particles can be loaded with medicine and could be a future weapon for cancer treatment. Because the particles can be seen in magnetic resonance images, they are traceable.
Building on earlier pioneering work by researchers at the University of California, San Diego, an international consortium of university researchers has produced the most comprehensive virtual reconstruction of human metabolism to date. Scientists could use the model, known as Recon 2, to identify causes of and new treatments for diseases like cancer, diabetes and even psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders.
Scientists in Australia are perfecting a technique that may help see nanodiamonds used in biomedical applications. They have been processing the raw diamonds so that they might be used as a tag for biological molecules and as a probe for single-molecule interactions. With the help of an international team, these diamonds have recently been optically trapped and manipulated in three dimensions—the first time this has been achieved.
In systemic lupus erythematosus, the body attacks itself for largely mysterious reasons, leading to serious tissue inflammation and organ damage. Current drug treatments address symptoms only and can require life-long daily use at toxic doses. Now, scientists at Yale University have designed and tested a drug delivery system that uses biodegradable nanoparticles to deliver low drug doses. The method shows early promise for improved treatment of lupus and other chronic, uncured autoimmune diseases.
A homebrewed diagnostic mixture containing a single drop of blood, a dribble of water, and a dose of DNA powder with gold particles could mean rapid diagnosis and treatment of the world's leading diseases in the near future. The cocktail diagnostic is being developed at the University of Toronto and it involves the same technology used in over-the-counter pregnancy tests.
Many researchers have been investigating the potential of tiny particles filled with drugs to treat cancer. A team of scientists in Sweden have recently made an advance in this area of research by developing “theranostic” nanoparticles, which combine therapy and diagnostics in the same nanomaterial. They are trackable through magnetic resonance.
Just like electronics, living cells use electrons for energy and information transfer. But cell membranes have thus far prevented us from “plugging” in cells to our computers. To get around this barrier that tightly controls charge balance, a research group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Molecular Foundry has engineered <em>E. coli</em> as a testbed for cellular-electrode communication. They have now demonstrated that these bacterial strains can generate measurable current at an anode.
Communities of microbes within our bodies, called the "microbiome," are considered to be so crucial to our health that some consider it to be a complex "second genome." In a recently published report, scientists take an important step toward designing a uniform protocol for microbiome research that ensures proper controls and considerations for variations among people. By doing this, future researchers should be able to better assess how what we ingest, whether drugs or food, affects our bodies.
Pharmaceutical residues in water can pose a danger to humans. Filtration is often very difficult as these trace substances, which are soluble in water, are so minute. Newly-developed double switchable membranes could make it possible to filter these molecules, as well as other biomolecules such as proteins and nucleic acids. The new membranes can reduce or enlarge pore size through changes in temperature and pH value.
Bioengineering researchers at University of California, Santa Barbara have found that changing the shape of chemotherapy drug nanoparticles from spherical to rod-shaped made them up to 10,000 times more effective at specifically targeting and delivering anti-cancer drugs to breast cancer cells. The findings could have a big impact on the effectiveness of anti-cancer therapies and reducing the side effects of chemotherapy
The University of Iowa recently offered an honors seminar on personal genetics in which students had the option of sending saliva samples so a testing company could use DNA to unlock some of their most personal health and family secrets. The class, taught at Iowa for the first time, is part of a growing movement in higher education to tackle the rapidly advancing field of personal genetics, which is revolutionizing medicine and raising difficult ethical and privacy questions.
Researchers at Michigan State University have used use an algae gene involved in oil production to engineer a plant that stores lipids or vegetable oil in its leaves—an uncommon occurrence for most plants. To confirm that the improved plants were more nutritious and contained more energy, the research team fed them to caterpillar larvae. The larvae that were fed oily leaves from the enhanced plants gained more weight than worms that ate regular leaves.
Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have identified a group of progenitor cells in the inner ear that can become the sensory hair cells and adjacent supporting cells that enable hearing. Studying these progenitor cells could someday lead to discoveries that help millions of Americans suffering from hearing loss due to damaged or impaired sensory hair cells.
Futurists have long proclaimed the coming of a cashless society, where dollar bills and plastic cards are replaced by fingerprint and retina scanners. What they probably didn't see coming was its debut not in Silicon Valley but at a small state college in remote western South Dakota. Two shops on the campus are performing one of the world's first experiments in “biocryptology”, a mix of biometrics—using physical traits for identification—and cryptology—the study of encoding private information.
Macrophages—literally, “big eaters”—are a big part of the body’s immune system response. These cells find and engulf invaders, or form a wall around the foreign object. Unfortunately, macrophages also eat helpful foreigners, including nanoparticles. In an effort to clear this long-standing hurdle, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have developed a “passport” that could be attached to therapeutic particles and devices, tricking macrophages into leaving them alone.